Productivity. What’s Your Definition?

Just finished reading (well, skimming.) an article about 37Signals founder, Jason Friedman. Read “The Way I Work”.  In the article, Friedman mentions having morning relaxation time before splashing into his daily e-mail reading. It made me think about my own work routine.

Honestly, I’m not so sure I have a work routine. Depends on the calendar. Lately, my weeks have consisted of 1 or 2 days in the office before dashing off to teach an Excellence in Speaking Institute for Ty Boyd Enterprises or chaperone an overnight field trip with one of my boys. Occasionally, I get a full week in the office, but it’s landscape is dotted with very necessary phone and face-to-face meetings (Tuesday thru Thursday), administrativia (Mondays) and productivity coaching sessions (Fridays) — all with a bit of white space scheduled in here and there.

Ooh, maybe I’ve just described a routine?

In any case, I try to make the most of whatever time I have, but there always seems to be more to do.

I had a cool realization last week: “My best is good enough.” Afterall, I told myself, “It’s all I have . . . all I’m capable of.”

You see, I’m a hard worker and very systematic. But, I also have this creative genius that likes to spread her wings. My creative genius is the one who needs that white space. She spends time experimenting with new ideas, planning for the future and just chillin’. What’s odd is that I crank out more of my best “traditional” work only after I’ve had the white space.

To me, that’s what productivity is . . . It’s you doing your best.

Sometimes my best is hours on end surfing the net experimenting with a new software or design idea that may not pan out. Sometimes it’s back to back meetings all day. Sometimes it’s pulling an “all nighter” to crank out a creative spurt that comes to you just as you’re hitting the sheets.

Unlike 9 to 5 ‘ers, the work at home professional’s productivity is results based. Back in cubicle-land, you were expected to hang out from 8 am to 5 or 6 pm — no matter how you felt or what you accomplished. The measure was how many hours you put in. Not necessarily how effective you were.

Thank God for white space.

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